<< ON THE FIRST DAY OF My Public Speaking CLASS MY PROFESSOR TOLD US A FUNNY JOKE ABOUT HOW THE NUMBER ONE FEAR IN THE US WAS PUBLIC SPEAKING AND NUMBER 2 WAS DEATH. THEREFORE, THE JOKE IS THAT PEOPLE WOULD RATHER BE IN THE CASKET THAN SPEAKING AT THE FUNERAL. I WAS BEYOND UNAMUSED.>>
The only time I’ve willingly spoken in public was during my Dad’s funeral when the thought of his casket in front of me and the life without him ahead was scarier than the 70 or so people sitting in the church and the possibility of mispronouncing Ecclesiastes.
However, apparently, that technically wasn’t the only time I’ve ever signed up to publically speak. Sending in that $200 deposit to West Chester University assured me that I’d have to do it again. There I was minding my own business, signing up to pay this institution for 4 years as an English WRITING major and I found myself in a pickle. Why? Because these public schools require public speaking. AND SO your favorite introvert had her first speech tonight.
Why is “writing” in aggressive caps? Good question. There are usually two ways to get information to someone. Writing and speaking. Sometimes writers choose to write so that they don’t have to find themselves in situations that have them standing in the front of the room in front of, say 30, bored and judge-y college students. I’m not a speaker.
Now, let’s flashback to the first day of class. There we were going over the syllabus, basic introductions, nothing too scary for the frat boy in the back surrounded by three sorority girls giving him all the attention in the world. But for me? Well let me put this another way…
So I walked out of class and checked my Fitbit. The Fitbit, bless its little battery, thought I was exercising because my heart rate reached. Wait for it. 118 beats per minute. That makes the heart beat line on the Fitbit app turn yellow. Yellow means you’re burning fat. But I was instead sitting in class cursing this public school rather than spending time actually working out.
My mother got a kick out of this.
Now we’re three weeks in and we had our first speech on an object of our choosing. I chose to tell the story of my Hawaiian shirt square of Dad’s (find the blog about it here).
So, I prepare in my room, get super confident in front of the mirror, write stuff down on my little notecard and am very pleased. I look down at my Fitbit, an hour and a half before class and my heart rate is at 83 beats per minute.
Relaxing, what I do best, comes next and I am playing some Candy Crush and upon losing all of my lives I close the app to realize that the hour and a half I thought I had is really only a half hour. I like to leave for class 45- 50 minutes before it starts. Not that it takes that long to get up to campus, but I feel better knowing that I’m on time and have time to relax before class starts. But to me, I’m late. The day of my speech, the day I’ve been dreading.
So, due to realizing that I only have a half hour I jump, put my coat and shoes on, grab my square and notecard and head out the door only to see the shuttle pulling away. So I run back inside to grab my car keys deciding to park up on campus (something I’m really not allowed to do) and check my Fitbit on the way. We’re at 142 beats per minute.
I got to class at least 20 minutes early, the professor is talking to another professor and once that ends he says that whoever wants to go first has to start the list.
Now, my crazy self decided I should go first last week- another reason I ran to class was so that no one else could go first and I would have first dibs.
By going first I had no one else’s object to compare mine to, the professor knew I had no idea what I was actually doing because I had nothing to go off of and I, Allie Wengler, would have the rest of class to not stress.
It was the best decision. After putting my name on the list to go first my heart rate went down to about 138… progress… until he announces that it’s time to begin and I drag myself up there, hand him the sheet of paper he’s going to grade me with and start my speech explaining this square that means the world to me. I found myself clenching that square. FYI- I was the only student to get a fist bump from him.
I timed my speech in my room before- it was 2:45 minutes. In class it was 2:05. I spoke fast, I stressed, and my voice was shaking so much that they probably thought I was going to cry but it was really just because I am incapable of calming down.
After the speech, I sat down, checked my wrist and I was at 156 beats per minute.
I sometimes don’t even hit 156 when I go to the gym. Moral of the story: class is just as much of a workout as the gym, therefore, no need to do both.
So I told my mom about this. She was pretty excited I made it through. Upon telling her I got a B (!!) she said that she’s envisioning my Ted Talk and that it was an accomplishment enough that I didn’t have a heart attack. And boy was she right.
I have three more speeches to go before I make it to the end of this class that only exists to destroy me. I’ll report in with what my Fitbit reads during those times too.
P.S. Shout out to “Jennifer Gardella- the greatest mom to ever walk the earth,” and “Dannielle with two N’s”.
Dad Wengler Quote:
“Don’t sweat the small stuff”
Why is this relevant? I wore the thickest sweater I had and sweat. A LOT.